Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

150 hours of focussed learning

Unit rationale, description and aim

Major incidents, both natural and human-made, are becoming more common often resulting in large scale mass casualty incidents. Major incidents are not day-to-day occurrences and as such require a specialist approach. Paramedics are often the first responders to mass casualty incidents. As such they require specialised theoretical and technical knowledge of major incident and disaster management, an understanding of their role in this context and an ability to apply their knowledge and skills to manage the incident in order to minimise harm.

This unit integrates the principles and procedures of major incident and disaster medical response and management. The focus will be on the implementation of major incident response plans for a large scale multi-casualty incidents and principles of risk assessment and minimisation will be applied. This unit will also explore scene control and complex management of events requiring the support of other emergency agencies and application of triage principles where resources are limited.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Differentiate major incident, disaster, mass casualty and multi-casualty incidents; (GA5)

LO2 - Apply the principles of the disaster management cycle; (GA5)

LO3 - Explain the major psychological and sociological effects of major incidents, and related strategies to minimize these effects; (GA5)

LO4 - Analyse the emergency services’ roles and responsibilities in a major incident and the principles of command and control; (GA3, GA4, GA5)

LO5 - Apply risk assessment strategies and respond to mitigate risk; (GA6)

LO6 - Apply and demonstrate the principles and skills of effective primary and secondary triage, scene management and communication in a major incident or disaster scenario. (GA4, GA5, GA6)

Graduate attributes

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account


CAA Competency Standards:

Standard/Attributes/CriteriaLearning Outcomes

1. Acts in accordance with accepted standards of conduct and performance 

2, 3, 4, 5

2. Makes informed and reasonable decisions 

4, 5

3. Demonstrates professional autonomy and accountability 

4, 5

4. Develops and maintains professional relationships 

2, 4

5. Demonstrates the knowledge and understanding required for practice as a paramedic

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

6. Operates within a safe practice environment 

3, 4, 5

7. Identifies and assesses health and social care needs in the context of the environment


8. Formulates and delivers clinical practice to meet health and social care needs within the context of the environment 

3, 4, 5

9. Critically evaluates the impact of, or response to, the Paramedics actions

4, 5


Topics will include:


  • Scene management
  • Multiagency roles and responsibilities
  • Triage
  • Treatment
  • Transportation
  • Regulatory frameworks
  • Communication
  • Debriefing / psychological factors

Scene assessment / risk minimisation and management 

Risk assessment matrix

Disaster management cycle 

  • Preparation, prevention (mitigation), response, recovery

Specific Skills

Scene management

  • Scene organisation


  • Primary triage 
  • Secondary triage


  • Situation report

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of the essential knowledge associated with major incident management. Students are able to explore both the theoretical and technical knowledge underpinning interventions in major incidents by analysing historical events and evaluating the emergency services response. 

Students are given the opportunity to attend asynchronous online tutorial classes to facilitate synthesis of this knowledge. This approach allows flexibility for students and facilitates the participation of students unable to attend classes. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to successfully complete this unit, students need to complete and submit three graded assessment tasks. The assessment strategy used allows students to progressively develop their knowledge and skills. 

 Assessments are sequenced and timed to support progresses from assessment of lower level learning outcomes to higher as the semester progresses. Assessments are weighted accordingly.

The collaborative learning discussion portfolio enables students to discuss, explore and articulate ideas developed through the unit to demonstrate their depth of knowledge and to foster learning in major incident management. The critical analysis enables students to apply values, knowledge, skills and attitudes in the area of major incident management and to extend this to the development of an understanding of the major psychological and sociological effects of major incidents. The major assignment provides the opportunity for students to consolidate knowledge developed throughout the unit. These assessments are required to engage students with content that should build knowledge which, by the conclusion of this programme, will allow the student to graduate as a health care professional well conversant in the management of a mass casualty, multi-agency major incident.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Discussion Portfolio 

( 2 discussion items – 10% each)


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA6

Critical analysis (2000 words)


LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6

Written assignment (1500 words)


LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6

Representative texts and references

Advanced Life Support Group, Hodgetts, T. & Mackway-Jones, K. (Eds). (2012). Major incident medical management and support: The practical approach at the scene. (3rd ed.). West Sussex: Blackwell Publishing.

Australian Disaster Resilience Knowledge Hub.

Australian Emergency Management Institute. (2011). Disaster Health: Handbook1. Canberra, Australia: Australian Government. Retrieved from

Australian Emergency Management Institute. (2015). Australian emergency management handbook and manual series. Canberra, Australia: Australian Government. Retrieved from

Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience. (2011). Disaster Health: Handbook 1. Retrieved from

McEntire, D.A. (2015). Disaster Response and Recovery: Strategies and Tactics for Resilience, (2nd Edition). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley

Pedersen, M. B., Gjerland, A., Rund, B. R., Ekeberg, Ø., & Skogstad, L. (2016). Emergency Preparedness and Role Clarity among Rescue Workers during the Terror Attacks in Norway July 22, 2011. Plos One11(6), e0156536. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0156536

The Australian Journal of Emergency Management

The Australian Resuscitation Council Guidelines. Accessed at

Sanders, M. J. (2012). Mosby’s paramedic textbook (4th ed.). St Louis: Mosby.

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